Effective communication and creating alliances, a liberal perspective, has been effective means of mitigating the shift towards hostile action. In the years surrounding World War I, World War II, and the Cold War communication were able to solidify alliances.
World War I
During World War I, from the realist perspective, before the start of the war in 1904, Britain in practicing self-help had a choice between aligning with a newly formed and quickly rising superpower Germany or France to create a counterbalance (Nau, 2017). Britain Chose to counterbalance Germany and aligned themselves with France (Nau, 2017). They formed an institution called Entente Cordiale which opened communication between the two countries (Nau, 2017). A year later the duo folded Russia into the institution and formed the Triple Entente (Nau, 2017). Additionally, before the war for almost a hundred years the Concert of Europe also kept the lines of communication open (Nau, 2017). In 1899, twenty-six states joined what was known as the Hague Conferences, and by 1907 the conference grew to forty-four (Nau, 2017). The institution created a level of trade and communication that was more efficient than the next fifty years (Nau, 2017). The best example of communication that was both timely and effective is the Willy-Nicky telegrams. Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Tsar Nicholas II of Germany sent a series of telegrams shortly after the Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia (Nau, 2017). They two leaders, through communication, was almost able to keep the war to a regional conflict instead of a world war (Nau, 2017). Germany on the onset of war actually pulled their troops out of France to try and limit the battle (Nau, 2017). Although the war happened, communication in the Willy-Nicky telegrams almost prevented it.
World War II
When it came to World War II, there are two examples of communication that stands out. The first is the League of Nations. When the League of Nations was formed, it was modeled after Woodrow Wilson’s desire for “open diplomacy, freedom of the seas, general disarmament, removal of trade barriers, and impartial settlement of colonial claims” (Nau, 2017, Ch. 3). The League of Nations aims was to obtain collective security, and until Germany and Japan decided to pull out (Nau, 2017). The League of Nations was timely because it brought the world together after it was torn apart from the World War I and was effective in providing collective security through open diplomacy. The second example of effective communication between two nations was the Russia “bandwagoning” onto Germany just before World War II. Stalin (Nau, 2017). Russia was faced with two choices; it could join the militarily stronger Germany or a weaker France/Great Britain (Nau, 2017). Stalin entered into negations with both sides but through the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement entered into a nonaggression pact with Germany (Nau, 2017). The communication was timely because it took place the same year World War II started and it was effective because Russia understood that Germany wanted to expand eastward and was seeking to placate or a the very least delay the German aggression.
As far as the Cold War is a concern, there are a plethora of examples to communications between two nations that were shaping the international community. Two great example of this is the Warsaw Pact, that felicitated communication between the communist nations, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which felicitated communication between the non-communist actors in the Cold War. The best example, and the one that has the most impact on the world, though was the Helsinki Accords. The Helsinki Accords was a meeting of thirty-five nations from the East and the West, in which the nations agree to a series of policies separated into three baskets (Nau, 2017). The first basket contained ten principles dealing with military and political issues (Helsinki Final Act, n.d.). The second basket set policies on trade, scientific cooperation, and other economic issues (Helsinki Final Act, n.d.). The third basket focused on human rights, including reunification of families divided by international borders (Helsinki Final Act, n.d.). The Helsinki Accord was part of a larger emphasis on diplomacy known as détente (Nau, 2017). From the liberal perspective, the communication that took place in the Helsinki Accord created interdependence and trade, which made countries less suspicious of one another and create an atmosphere conducive to New Thinking (Nau, 2017). The interdependence created by the Helsinki Accord made the communication effective, and the ability to be one of the catalysts for ending the Cold War made it timely.
Helsinki Final Act, 1975. (n.d.). Office of the Historian.
Nau, H. R. (2017). Perspectives on international relations: Power, institutions, and ideas (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press.
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